How to apply for a VA loan

VA loan application on document

Getting a VA loan is one of the many ways you can finance your home purchase in just about anywhere in the United States as long as you fit the eligibility requirements.

Scroll down below to learn everything there is to know about VA loans. If you have any questions or need military relocation assistance, get in touch with me today.

What are VA loans?

VA loans were established by the US government to help returning service members finance their dream of buying and owning houses. Since it was created in 1944, it has expanded to include active service members, veterans, and their families.

Although it was created by the government, VA loans are issued by banks and mortgage companies. These loans, however, are backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

The main appeal of VA loans is that they are zero-percent down payment loans that don’t need private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you fit the criteria, a VA loan is also relatively easier to obtain than other conventional mortgages.

  • Since VA loans are guaranteed by the government, lenders are protected in case borrowers default.
  • You can purchase a house worth approximately $480,000 without putting any money down, but it really depends on where you choose to buy.

Am I eligible for a VA loan?

It’s relatively easy to be eligible for a VA loan. You only have to meet any of the basic requirements:

  • You are an active, returning, or retired service member; or
  • You are the spouse of a service member who died or has been disabled in the line of duty; or
  • You actively served 90 consecutive days during wartime; or
  • You actively served 181 consecutive days during peacetime; or
  • You served six years in the National Guard or Reserves.

In order to be eligible for a VA loan, you also need to have Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which you can get through an approved lender, a fully accomplished VA Form 26-1880, or through the eBenefits portal.

If you don’t fit any of the aforementioned requirements but would still like to see if you can qualify for a VA loan, contact me. Let’s explore your options.

If I’m a spouse, how do I get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

You can get it two ways.

  • If you are a recipient of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, you can get a COE by filling out the VA Form 26-1817 and get the necessary paperwork done.
  • If you’re not a recipient of benefits mentioned above, you need to file a fully accomplished VA Form 21P-534EZ to your local VA Pension Management Center.

    You also need to submit a couple of supporting documents, such as your marriage license, the relevant separation paperwork, and DD Form 1300 (Report of Casualty) if applicable.

    Do lenders have additional requirements?

    Yes. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of at least 620, but it varies depending on the bank or mortgage company. Some lenders also have additional guidelines, such as proof of sufficient income and an acceptable debt-to-income ratio.

    Borrowers are also required to keep a specific amount of money each month. We call this residual income and is meant to cover for additional expenses and emergencies.

    How do I apply for a VA loan?

    The process of applying for a VA loan is simple. Once you’ve deemed that you are eligible to qualify for a VA loan, proceed to the next steps:

    1. Get in touch with a lender (it could be a bank or another mortgage company) and apply for a VA loan. Note that the lender should be accredited by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

      Use this site or contact a military relocation professional to find a VA-approved lender near you.

    2. Get your Certificate of Eligibility (scroll above if you missed any of the steps on how to get your certificate).
    3. Submit additional paperwork required to you by the lender if there are any, such as relevant VA forms, separation paperwork, proof of your income and your credit report, Statement of Service, etc.
    4. Complete your loan application. This can take anywhere between 30 to 45 days. The process involves your loan pre-approval, your search for the house you want to purchase, signing the purchase contract, getting your loan underwritten, and finally, closing.
    5. You can read more about the VA loan process here.

    Do you have any questions about applying for a VA loan? I’d like to be of assistance. Contact me today and feel free to ask anything about VA loans and military relocation in Las Vegas. You’re also welcome to browse my website. You might come across resources that will help you ease into life in Las Vegas.